OCPM report recommends tribute to Indigenous victims at old Royal Vic

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The public consultation office said a tribute should be paid to any victims who may have suffered on the site.

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The city’s public consultation office said true reconciliation must be made with the Indigenous community before going forward on plans to redevelop the old Royal Victoria Hospital.

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In a document made public Tuesday morning, the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) made public its recommendations stemming from hearings held last September into the transformation of the old hospital. The university proposes to turn its portion of the site into a state-of-the-art research, teaching and learning hub dedicated to sustainability and public policy.

Among the concerns expressed by those who made presentations at the hearings were Indigenous leaders who asked that McGill University help investigate whether there are mass graves on the site.

Last January, McGill said it will co-operate to investigate the claims and have reconciliation at the heart of its $700-million rehabilitation project.

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The group claims to have recently interviewed Lana Ponting, an 80-year-old woman who says she was subjected to psychiatric experiments by Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron at McGill’s Allan Memorial Institute, in April 1958, at the age of 16. The woman reportedly said there were many Indigenous children at the Institute, and also that there were rumoured to be bodies buried around the premises, including near the Henry William Morgan Pool.

The OCPM report recommended investigating the claims thoroughly and marking the spot, by paying tribute to any possible victims of horrors committed on the site, and possibly even erecting a museum in their memory.

The OCPM also recommended that the city not authorize a wing proposed to be built on the northern side of the old hospital’s women’s pavilion. McGill should also better integrate the woods and green spaces on the northern part of the site.

The full report can be seen at ocpm.qc.ca.



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